rinku: (Default)
figured i ought to right a larger entry on the experience for memory's sake and for those who are curious, but i don't really have all that much time (busy working on SD to make up for lost time) so here are some highlights

- we had no power or heat for 9 days, although we did have running water. after about two days, the water was hot, prior to that it was cold (the building set up a small generator to heat the water). everything was done by candlelight, even showering and shaving (shaving when you can't see very well is a bit challenging, hadn't done it before)

- the temperature outside was fairly cold: between 40 and 30 (sometimes the high 20s). this was the most uncomfortable part of the ordeal by far. i forgot what heated rooms felt like. my room was the coldest room: i could literally see my breath crystals (the same as if i were outside).

- thankfully the management was providing hot meals in the front / lobby area of the apartment building. but it was all terribly unhealthy food: dominoes pizza, kentucky fried chicken, dunkin' donuts, and similar food. coffee and soda to drink, sometimes bottled water. not one vegetable was to be found! but it was free, and we could not cook our own food (and much of it spoiled after 24 hours, although the window sill was almost as cold as a refrigerator), so i ate some of it. we also ate chinese take-out, and meals from local diners. overall i gained about 14 lbs (going up to 168 lbs at my peak, which is the most i've ever weighed ever -- i'm 6'3). i'm sure it'll go down again and that a lot of it is water weight, but still, it feels strange to weigh this much. the floor creaks when i walk over it.

- whenever i went to pick up food i'd notice the same guy there, with an obama baseball cap; he was mentally retarded (i mean in a literal way, not as an insult; his limbs stood out at odd angles and his eyes didn't focus). he was friendly/entertaining, i believe he's a building resident, and he would ask the people who are on line weird quiz questions that only he would know the answer to, such as 'which movie am i thinking of with this actress' (not any movie that actress was in, but the specific movie with that actress that he was thinking of), or 'what year was i born in'. i liked him. i find that mentally challenged people (i mean, iq's of less than 70-60) are some of the friendliest people i've known. i think it's because it takes some level of intelligence to be a jerk or dishonest.

- around the third day, we went over to my father's (who was in walking distance and has power) to charge cell phones. while there i let the adorable newedition know what's going on via phone and wrote that quick lj entry about not having power.

- around the fourth day, my aunt and her son (my cousin) were kicked out of the hotel they were staying in. that hotel had no power and was still charging them full price; they didn't leave because there were no open hotel rooms with power anywhere in NJ at the time. but they were the last ones in the hotel so the hotel eventually kicked them out and closed down. so the two of them wound up staying with us (and are still here). this led to a lot of fights between my brother and my aunt (my brother haggard dislikes her for justified reasons; she's been evicted many times due to failure to pay rent, has stolen from us in the past, and is an alcoholic). they found a new apartment but they need a few days for welfare to process the payment for their new place (and so far it's been about a week).

- we had a crank powered radio on which i occasionally listened to WABC talk news (i used to listen to that station ages ago so it was kind of fun returning to it. most of the good hosts are gone, however, replaced by bad ones. john batchelor i like, though.) curtis sliwa now appears to be on a different station. art bell is long gone, and even his replacement isn't on at night anymore (at least that i could find). where's coast to coast AM now? i looked for it but didn't find it on any station at any time.

- i read some murakami -- a wild sheep chase, hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world, and blind willow sleeping woman. i enjoyed them. the wind up bird chronicle is still my favorite of his, but hard-boiled is a close second. it's too bad he didn't win the nobel prize for literature this year (he was in the running, though).

- i spent a lot of time studying and writing kanji (mostly refreshing my memory, since they're relatively easy to learn but also very easy forget unless you see them every day, but i trust that by repeatedly learning them eventually they'll stick long-term).

- i also spent a lot of time going through all my saturated dreamers paper-based notebooks and notepads, and throwing out the notes that are no longer needed (which was the majority of them), and saving or re-writing as a summary those notes which i did want to keep. this kept my mind on the game and kept me looking forward to being able to work on it again.

- on the last day (which was also the day the nor'easter hit) there were three pse&g (power company) trucks repairing one of the wires outside out building, but even after that one was restored, we were told that the substation had three blown out transformers and that those may take another week or two (!?) to replace. we were also worried that the storm would cause the workmen to leave before they finished the job, due to the high winds expected.

- i should note that during the entire time we had very little idea when power would be restored. we didn't know if it'd be one day or one month (there are still many people out of power in NJ). there was a site where you could look up work orders by city and date, but it was confusing, and we had no internet, so we had to rely on second- or third-hand information a lot of the time. if i had just known '9 days without power' it would have been a lot easier to plan for. but being told 'x days without power' makes everything feel uncertain. it's no exaggeration to say that those psychologically felt like the longest 9 days of my life. which isn't to say i didn't enjoy them in a way, just that they did feel long because there was very little to mark that time was passing.

- i started drinking coffee again during the outage, mainly because acceptable store-bought coffee is easier to come by than acceptable store-bought tea is (if they have it, it's usually lipton or something like that, and they don't usually know how to make it either, leaving the tea bag in for too long for instance). also, cappuccino (there's a local italian cappuccino place). i'm not sure i'll continue it but it was an interesting short-term change.

- my watch even broke down during the power outage (ran out of battery life, coincidentally), so i had to rely mostly on the radio and the sun to know what time it was. we also had a limited supply of candles and flashlights and flashlight batteries, less than we needed, and often had to share them or ration use (which again was hard to plan for because we didn't know how long it'd last).

- also on the last day (the one on which we got power) the building had actually rented a huge generator the size of a small van, for the purposes of restoring heat (but not electricity) to the building, and had *just* set it up (so we got heat back and hallway lights) when, boom, the power went on! for a few minutes we thought the new large generator itself was supplying the power, but it was actually the power lines, not the generator. i went outside to see if it was just us or all the buildings around us that also had no power; all of them had power too save for a traffic light. i guess they managed to replace the transformers at the substation sooner than expected. outside there was a guy from our building literally shouting "hallelujah" in the snow.

- when the power eventually did come back on and my room had heat again, it felt uncomfortably hot even though it was only about a 60 degree room temperature. i think my body compensated by producing more internal heat. even now, a full day later, room temperature still feels too hot (but not uncomfortably so), although i feel the adaption happening.

- i felt like i accomplished less than i could have during those days, mainly because of the lack of heat. lack of heat isn't just uncomfortable, it also makes it hard to focus as well as you normally would (so mental activities such as reading and studying kanji become harder), and it even makes manipulating objects more difficult -- cold fingers are harder to do anything with, such as turn pages, or even open drawers, doors, or light matches. i think that if i had heat, lack of power for other things (internet, computer, television, lights, etc.) would have been much easier to live with and no big deal, and even might have been a fun break away from the internet. i've been through long power outages before (there was a 3 day east coast outage awhile back) but not during 20-30 degree weather.

- aside from the local salvation army church which already existed anyway (which handed out a free meals a couple of times) there was *no* federal government or state or volunteer aide of any kind to the people affected by the hurricane that i saw or heard about around here. no red cross, no coast guard or army, no police or firefighters, no fema, no volunteers, no donations. part of that is that many places were much harder hit than paterson, and that so many people were affected, but it was still weird to me that chris christie and obama talked so much about all that was being done, but we never actually saw anything being done in those 9 days, aside from the gas rationing rule (where you could only buy gas on alternate days). i suspect a lot of that stuff is just for show.

that's about all i can think of right now. i'll add to this if i think of anything major i forgot.
rinku: (Default)
someone in the greenlight forums asked why people are / became indie game developers, this was my reply. i figure it's worth re-posting here:


mainly because i'm often unsatisfied with the games i play, and am always seeing ways that they could easily have been a lot better, at least for me. almost nobody is really making the type of games i like to play any more. they are still making games with game elements i like, but rarely are all the game elements that i like together in one package.

for instance, the two most important things to me about a game is (a) that it allow for user creativity or customization and have non-linear exploration of a large world, and that (b) have an interesting story. (a) and (b) both exist in games today, but rarely together. for instance, la mulana and dark souls and torchlight 2 had aspect (a), but not (b). persona 3 and catherine and planescape torment and xenogears had aspect (b), but not (a). and even in games that do have both (a) and (b), like fallout 3, they are often lacking in another aspect i like, (c) challenge -- fallout 3 started off challenging but got way too easy way too quickly. so i have a set of very specific tastes that games very rarely meet. some games that have met all three of those conditions: alpha centauri, baldur's gate 2, and guardian legend (although the story in that last game was very simple, it was good for its time, under NES limitations).

so basically there aren't very many games that appeal to my interests. i try to make games that i would like, and that people who like similar games to me would like. i don't know how common it is to value customization/non-linearity, great stories, and a high level of challenge all in one game, but it's what i value, and what my games aim for.

of course the elements may even work against each other in some ways. it's hard to make a game that is both customizable and challenging, because if you figure out the right "build" or whatever, the game becomes much easier. and it's often hard to have a great story when the game is non-linear, because the writer can't control the flow of the game as well (since the events don't have to happen in any particular order). so it's hard to make the types of games i like, but not impossible, and i usually wind up with a game that i feel i'd love even if i didn't make it.

i also feel that games are an important part of people's lives, and it's a great responsibility to be a good influence, especially on younger players. i feel as if a lot of games waste that responsibility and just aim for shallow fun or giving people more of what they liked rather than attempt to improve the player as a person. i also aim to do that with my games. in other words if games are like food for the mind i want to avoid empty calories that taste good but have no nutritional value. a couple of the games i played in my youth strongly influenced me and improved me as a person, so i want to return that favor for even a very small part of another generation.

by that i don't mean boring educational stuff or aesop-like morality, what i mean is showing a vision of life as exciting, showing characters the player might want to be more like, people who creatively overcome challenges, and allowing them to play as those characters, to feel as if they are those people, living an exciting life. i want them to take away that adventure and excitement and going on quests and overcoming challenges creatively isn't restricted just to videogames.
rinku: (Default)
rinku's otakon report

(this entry's long and i'm mainly writing it for my own records, but it's here if anyone would like to wade through it.)

my friend mark was gathering a group to go to otakon this year and convinced me to join (since it was pretty inexpensive); it was only 145$ for my share of the hotel (for 2 nights) and 80$ for the ticket, and since i hadn't traveled in a while and had never stayed at a hotel before i figured it'd be an interesting experience, even though i'm not especially interested in modern anime or manga anymore.

(background: i've known mark and his sister since very early. their parents were friends with my parents. we were childhood friends, with their parents bringing them over our house to play with pretty regularly. there was a big gap of time (about 18 years) during which we didn't interact. i introduced mark to jrpgs like final fantasy 4 and 6, and he got into them as he grew up (perhaps even more into them than i was). earlier this year, after fifteen years of not hearing from mark at all, he suddenly found us on facebook one day and called to thank me for introducing him to those types of games. was nice to know that i had had such an impact on someone's life and not realize it.)

anyway, the first night i stayed over at mark's mother's house so that we could leave early in the morning. i met mark's wife during this time, she's nice. she speaks very good english (she was born/raised in mexico), but kept making amusing little mistakes, like calling a skunk a racoon. i've trouble sleeping in strange places so i only slept about 4 hours, even though it was comfortable. we left early that day, and arrived in baltimore after a 3-4 hour drive. the drive there took less time than the return drive, but was more uncomfortable to me because i was more nervous and felt a little motion-sick for most of the trip.

after we got there we checked in, but the room wasn't ready so we went to get our pre-registered badges. then there was like a 7 block long line on which we waited about 2-3 hours in the hot sun. this was easily the most physically draining part of the trip.

in that line, and everywhere else throughout the convention, people were dressed up as fictional characters. i had no idea who 90% of the cosplayers were cosplaying, but still, there were so many cosplayers that i still recognized hundreds of characters. it was particularly fun to see people dressed up like the guy from minecraft. and also to see old 80s characters like mumm-ra from the thundercats, and a red mage, my favorite class from final fantasy 1.

funnily, mark's wife, while on the line, made a list of things to bring to this line next year: water, a chair, snacks, an umbrella (for the shade), etc. -- she also told me i shouldn't be so shy, that i should ask random people to take my picture with them, etc. etc. -- but i don't really see that totally an issue of me being shy, as i genuinely have no desire to have my picture taken with random strangers, even if they are dressed up as fictional characters.

after we got badges we wandered around (sometimes together, usually separately). i went to a dragon quest panel, which didn't say much i didn't know about the series (it ran through each game and described them). people seemed to cheer the most for dragon quest 8.

i wandered around some more, and saw the dealer's room (where people set up small shops and sell stuff; a huge area) but didn't buy anything there. i saw peter beagle there, who i had previously met before, but his stand/stall was so crowded and his graphic novel that he was selling so expensive (50$! i had only brought 80$ with me total, to use for things to buy / food for the whole 3 days) that i decided to skip talking to him, even though he's one of my favorite authors. i had met him before anyway back in nyc central park, but i doubt he'd remember me from that since there were a lot of people there too. still it was nice seeing him there, even if i didn't talk to him. just knowing that a writer of his caliber (i'd easily put him in the top 10 of fantasy authors, living or dead) was at this convention somehow dignified what is otherwise a pretty silly thing, even if he was only here to make money.

at around 6PM mark called and told me the room was ready and to go up there; i did and he gave me the keycard. [livejournal.com profile] miyu_sakura and i had planned to meet at this time (she lives in baltimore currently) so i waited for her till she arrived and called me from the lobby. i hadn't eaten all day except for some fruit and a few spoons of yogurt for breakfast. she walked me to a few places before we decided to eat at a whole foods. even though i hadn't eaten that day, i couldn't even finish the turkey sandwich i bought there (i had two bites and became full), due to the nervousness of the travel event. after that we went back and had drinks at the hotel's bar thing (although i had only cranberry juice since i alcohol makes me feel weird).

miyu was fun to talk with (although she did most of the talking, which was fine by me). she's a close internet friend who i've known on livejournal/IM/email for around eight years. we talked about four hours on various subjects -- the ones i can remember (in no order) are: her current career plans (she's going to be a writer now, i offered to read any drafts she sent me and provide feedback), her job (and her absent-minded employer, a research scientist), her travels throughout china and china's differences from america and about the chinese language, baltimore/maryland, how we're both about equally badly near-sighted (we took off our glasses and tried to read the tv in the place), the movie the dark knight rises, the author murakami, how miyu is probably physically stronger than me (since she mainly lifts weights for exercise and i mainly run), on adoption vs having children, what i need to wear to look good (i forgot most of it since i have no mind for fashion), the difference between different bars and their different drinks, a bar that she likes but doesn't want to go to because of a certain guy who hangs around in it, how the secretary of state has no real power, immortality, high heels, our earliest childhood memories, a type of low-level depression that prevents blissful happiness but isn't a strong depression either, how the brain loses memories due to an overactive hypothalamus, tons of other subjects.

i don't know how she manages to be both extremely academically and socially intelligent, knowing almost everything about all the nerd stuff and all the celebrity / regular stuff. most people are either one or the other. i already knew this about her through online interaction, but it was still amazing seeing it in practice. she also taught me how to use the cell phone better (i still don't own a cell phone, so i had no idea how to send or read text messages and stuff until she showed me), and also briefly explained how hotels worked (i had never stayed in one).

(as an aside, it's amazing to me how much today's youth are reliant on cell phones. i had heard that people communicate more with text messages than with voice over those phones. but to actually *see* people mostly do that is a completely different thing. people texted and were texted constantly. even miyu during our meeting was being texted and texting back (although it wasn't as much as with the others, and she apologized for it when it happened). this whole phenomena of youth and text messages is still extremely weird to me.)

anyway, to continue: normally i have trouble looking at people in the eyes when they talk to me, i'd look away or pace back and forth or whatever, especially when i don't know them very well (but even when i do know them i still don't usually look at people when they talk to me or when i talk to them). but with her that wasn't an issue. i don't know how much of that was due to being comfortable since she was a long-time internet friend, or how much of that was just due to it being fun to look at an attractive person. soon i grew tired, i hadn't slept well the night before. so around ten at night miyu walked me up to my room and hugged me twice. which was fun for me since we had some previous romantic attraction online, though that was long ago and has since largely subsided.

we went inside and found mark's sister suzanne there, who i hadn't seen in 18 years, since she was around 4 years old. two friends of mark's sister were there as well (we overpacked the hotel room and had 6 people staying in that one room.). miyu asked one of them to take our picture, and then said goodbye.

i talked with suzanne briefly, but we didn't have much to talk about. i said i remembered her having lighter-colored hair, but she said that that was always her hair color (i had probably been misremembering). she also said i looked younger than 33 (one of her friends, who was a college student, agreed and said i looked like 20). suzanne and her two friends left after that to do more city exploring or something, i tried to sleep, but again wasn't able to. eventually mark and his wife returned, and then suzanne and her group returned, and the lights went out. this time i was able to sleep for the majority of the night, thankfully (perhaps due to just being super tired). this was the only night of the trip that i slept more than a few hours.

the next day we ate breakfast at the hotel's hidden floor that you needed a keycard to get to, then went to the convention and explored it some more separately. this day i learned that one of suzanne's frieds was actually from paterson. even weirder, i learned he was using 4chan since elementary school, and knows about the game 'facade' which is an largely unknown indie game. it's weird to think that there is someone who lives in paterson, besides myself, who has played facade. it's just not something i find comprehensable at all.

i don't remember that much of what i saw, but i do remember that i saw pray for japan, which was a documentary about the tsunami that hit japan in 09. it was very very good. it was also extremely sad/emotional, but slightly more sad is that the room had barely anyone in it (maybe 40 people tops) while next door, the green ranger (the actor who played him) was answering questions for about 1000+ people, and occasionally we'd hear cheering coming from that room. the contrast felt kind of sad actually. i felt then that most anime fans don't actually care about japan, or even japanese culture. they care about being entertained by the media japan produces, and that's the extent of their concern.

anyway, the documentary had a lot i didn't know about the tsunami event (even though i had paid very close attention to news about it when i happened). for instance, they described a group of about a thousand people who had no food or water for three days. when they finally got dropped a shipment of food, they voted not to give it anyone -- because it was only 300 rice balls. they'd rather everyone go hungry equally than risk fighting over an amount not large enough to feed everyone. that struck me as a particularly japanese thing to do. also interesting was that there were more volunteers than they needed -- there were so many volunteers who came from all parts of japan to help the search and rescue that they didn't know what to do with them all.

after that i wandered around, i forget what else i saw (other videos / panels). eventually i started wandering the city, particularly the bay area, and taking pictures. oddly i wasn't actually interested in taking pictures of people's costumes, which is what most people with cameras were taking pictures of. it just didn't appeal to me, particularly after i had the pray for japan with the green ranger cheering next door experience. but the bay interested me, it's weird that a city has water and no beach, and has few to no railings protecting people from falling into very deep water. there was a lot to look at around there, ducks, parks, fountains, mini-waterfalls, so i took pictures of those.

i saw a barnes and nobel book store and went in just to have a look around. i usually prefer buying books on amazon, but before amazon existed i'd go to barnes and nobel very often, and spend all my extra money on books. i bought two books by murakami. when miyu brought him up, i said i'd read him after my japanese language learning had progressed enough to read him in the original. she thought this was funny (even though she is learning other languages too, and is probably better than me at language-learning), and said that the english translations were great. i said maybe i'd read both at the same time. but after our meeting i thought about it some more, and what miyu said had convinced me. besides, if i were to read a novel in japanese, i'd prefer to read one that *had not* been translated into english. i mean, what's really the point of me learning other languages? for me it's mainly to read media which hasn't yet been brought to english, not to read media which has.

so at the barnes & nobel i bought two murakami books: norwegian wood and the wind up bird chronicle. then i went back to the hotel and started reading them. this may sound funny: to go all the way to otakon and pay 80$ and then to not make the most of it, and instead read books at the hotel. but i saw it as 'recharging my batteries'; i prefer at least a little alone time, if i'm constantly in crowds of others it gets overwhelming, and i was already nervous due to the travel. and after reading for a while i was able to finish the turkey sandwich that i had saved from yesterday, so i figure in that sense it was time well spent. i read exactly 100 pages of one of the novels that day, and exactly 100 pages of the other one the next day. (i plan to finish both soon, now that i'm back.)

after that mark, his wife, and i went to see a gundam movie/episode. i didn't really understand it since i'm not a fan of the series, but mark gave me some context for it later. in theory i should like gundam: it's about giant robots and political intrigue and not moe/emo relationships (a trend which sort of destroyed modern anime for me). but i've always found the dialogue/ideas in it kind of dry. it's just not very philosophically interesting (at least as i see it), and its plot is too ornate. i actually don't like art where i need to look stuff up on a wiki to understand it -- this includes everything from star wars and star trek to dwarf fortress, minecraft, and gundam. i like self-contained stories that tell little interesting tales, not these multi-episode things where you need to watch all the episodes and movies in order and keep all the details in mind to understand anything. it just feels too nerdy that way. my tastes are more towards anime like studio ghibli's stuff, and 80s anime stand-alone films. in general i don't like anime television series, unless they last only one season and can be understood without too much outside context (like death note, evangelion, serial experiments lain, that kinda stuff). in the 80s, anime used to be for everyone, especially casual viewers who knew nothing about it, it feels like today, anime is only for japanophiles willing to put in a lot of effort to understand things. nonetheless, i enjoyed the movie as well as i could without knowing what's going on with the plot.

i went back to the hotel after that, read a bit more, and then it was time to sleep. this second night in the hotel was worse than the first, i couldn't sleep very well at all (maybe 3 hours sleep, possibly only 2). but i didn't mind all that much since any sleep is better than none (it was more than i expected), and because i had slept well the previous day.

the next morning we planned on checking out at 2PM, so after breakfast i packed and carried some stuff to the car with mark. while walking around the city a little, someone mentioned to me that he lost his pass. on whim i decided to give him mine, because we were leaving in a few hours anyway so i didn't really need it (i could have used it to see another anime movie or panel or something, but figured that guy who lost his pass would enjoy that kind of stuff more than i would). so i gave him my pass and then wandered around some more, eventually returning to the hotel to read some more. 2PM approached; we checked out, and an hour later we left.

the drive home took 5 hours due to traffic. mark and his wife did almost all of the talking on the return trip. they argued over an EZ pass thing and so on. later on in the trip mark started pretending to be crazy, saying stuff like "i am a car" and "my bladder is full" which was funny (at least to me, not sure about his wife). we also listened to some music cds he had bought, they were of music made by someone called dj cutman. they weren't great but they were listenable, and they were based on classic videogame songs, so mark and i were guessing which song came from what game, so that made the trip better.

one of the first things miyu said to me after we met that day was to ask if i would write a huge LJ entry on the trip. i said that i didn't know, since i don't really write normal LJ entries anymore, but i said something like 'i might, now that you mention it'. so here it is.

i think meeting her was the best part of the trip. it's just nice to spend time (however little) among great people. not that the people i travelled/roomed with were terrible by any means, they were impressive too in their own ways. but i really don't feel about them: 'this is someone i can aspire to be more similar to' the way i do with miyu. i think it's because largely they felt a bit too silly for me: from what little time i spent with them, their conversation topics were largely about: erotic fanfiction, drunkeness, a 14 year old that flirted with one of them, 4chan, internet memes like nyancat, and so on. cf. the list of conversation topics i had with miyu earlier; there's a big contrast. and it's not that talking about 4chan is inherently worse than talking about the lack of power of the state department, and we talk about some silly things too. it's more that it's a much wider range of interests.

the second best part of the trip for me was the pray for japan documentary. i really do wish more people had gone to see it. there were 33,000 people at that convention, of which about 30 of them chose to see that documentary. i still don't quite understand that. every other movie or panel i saw or looked in on was packed, this was the only one with complete rows of just empty seats. i don't know why this is a "favorite" part of the trip, since it's not really a good thing. but i feel as if, through that contrast with the green ranger, i observed something important that i didn't previously recognize, and as if it added a big piece to the puzzle of humanity or something like that.

i feel like my cousin carrie would have liked the whole convention more than i liked it. although i still did like it of course.

(oh, and this wasn't really "part of the trip" but it was fun returning to find a bunch of emails from [livejournal.com profile] newedition for me, saying how much she missed me and wanted to hear about the trip when i get back etc. -- she's the sweetest)

pictures of this trip have now been uploaded on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151081316346263.409357.500426262&type=3
rinku: (Default)
someone on the tigs forums asked me to give him a list of 10 books to read; these were my suggestions. they aren't necessarily my favorite books, but they're just suggestions that i'd recommend to people who are asking me for book recommendations

- brothers karamazov
- godel, escher, bach: an eternal golden braid
- 1984
- the tragedy of great power politics
- radical honesty
- the lucifer principle
- a brief history of everything
- the farther reaches of human nature
- the fountainhead
- the gay science
rinku: (Default)
am back from the flooding evacuation (got back to apartment about 8pm) but a bit too tired to work more on the game today so i just created some new name ideas for the new areas that i'll eventually create outside of the lake

"Paul eres talks in my dream, that's all I can remember about him because his shape is hazy and shifting constantly. Sometimes I imagine that it's not a spoon that he is stirring in tea but a most nefarious tool which purpose can't be grasped by my human intelligence but each clinking echoes throughout the galactic ether with ominous foreboding" - someone on the tigsource forums
rinku: (Default)
this building will be evacuated, and i'll likely have no internet access, due to flooding in NJ (we live in an apartment building near the passaic river, which is flooding a lot). so if i do not update this site in the next few days, don't worry, i'm still probably working on the game on laptop and will update whenever i get internet access
rinku: (Default)
there will be a hurricane hitting NJ tonight. in the unlikely (but more likely than usual) event that power goes out and i'm unable to update LJ, that will be the reason. my "work on SD and write about it every day in LJ" vow makes exceptions for acts of god, such as hurricanes, so if i don't post for a day or something because of a hurricane that doesn't constitute breaking the vow. although even if the power does go off i'll try to work on the game on my laptop in some way until the battery dies (perhaps working on the second draft of the script or something)
rinku: (Default)
haven't written a personal/introspective/emo entry in here in a while now, but suddenly today i had a desire to! that's what livejournal was intended for, after all, and i haven't used it in that way in forever. so here. i call this one "all my online friends are dead" and it's about how i used to have online friends but now don't really have any

back around the years 2000-2007 i had a lot of online friends, mostly from the ohrrpgce community. gradually over time i've lost them in various ways, which i'll go into now

komera, my best online friend, i met in 1999 in the ohrrpgce community. i've worked on a lot of games with her, both finished and unfinished. we used to talk sometimes 6-8 hours a day over instant messenger (which sounds totally excessive now but back then i didn't know how to manage my time and didn't have much else to do besides college). but eventually she got married, had a child, and started playing world of warcraft (which she seems to play almost every day, for a lot of hours each day). we still do talk occasionally, but only when i sign into world of warcraft (and even then she's often distracted by her husband and child). this is all natural and healthy for her (except for the world of warcraft addiction part of course) but it still left me with the situation where i was used to talking to someone every day, and am no longer able to -- so while she's still technically my best friend, we communicate so little (often less than one conversation a month, sometimes less than one conversation every six months) that it's difficult to maintain that friendship

next is harlock, who i met around the same time as komera. we founded the heroists together, made games together, and made plans to change the world together through creating great artworks and so on. but gradually over time his attitude towards me and his ideals have changed. for instance, he used to be libertarian, but is now marxist. he used to be highly "moral" and see ethical compromise as something to avoid, now he regularly brags about various immoralities that he's doing and has done. i don't think i'm the only one who knows him who thinks he seems like a totally different person now. not necessarily a worse person, just a much different one. and i wouldn't mind all these changes so much if he still talked to me, but he regularly avoids talking to me now, and almost never responds to instant messages, etc. -- he also was working on my game saturated dreamers with me at one point, but then did nothing for the game for many years, and finally quit the project except for creating the watercolor title screen. so, another friend down

next is charbile, who i also met around that same time in the community. basically he's the same story as harlock, except that his ideals shifted in a different direction -- he went from seeing the world as something to be saved to being something to destroy, and his selfishness evolved towards self-absorption and hatred towards the world and seeing others as things to exploit on his path to power and money. and instead of ignoring me as harlock has, instead he just doesn't go online at all anymore as far as i know (i haven't seen him on instant messenger or irc in like 4+ years), although he occasionally still posts in lj with weird entries about how everyone else is a fool and how he has solved another secret of the universe, but won't tell us what it is directly, he'll only hint at it -- so he's another friend lost

wynand is similar to the above cases in that he was working on SD with me (nominally) but "real life" now gets all his attention, so that he hasn't looked at the game or written anything for it in about two years, although he promises me that this will soon change. i never talked to wynand online as much as i did the others, and wynand is also different in that i've met him in real life (about three or four times, in NYC), but it's still a friendship loss to have someone working on games with you almost every day and then to suddenly not do that anymore

there are also various other people too numerious to go into in depth who also fall under the basic pattern of people who i used to talk to regularly online and now no longer do so as much (if at all): miyu_sakura, edenb, long dao, orchard-l, ubermensch, papertygre, etc., all for different various reasons. another key thing is that most of those people kept active livejournals, and now no longer do so (but that's true of a lot of livejournal, the site in general is dying, at least among english users)

next (and this may surprise her and others to read!) is newedition. okay she doesn't really fall under any of the patterns above, since we do still talk to each other, and actually are emotionally closer than ever (rather than more emotionally distant as with the above people), but still has a few similarities to them, the main one that real life now gets more of her priority time than talking to me does. she still calls me once every two or three weeks on the phone, but considering that we're romantically involved (in a long-distance relationship) it still feels as if we talk to each other far less than we used to in previous years

for instance, she often doesn't even have time to read my emails, and either skims them or keeps them in a perpetual 'will read one day' stack. which itself feels very weird: someone who constantly tells me she loves me who also doesn't read my emails due to being too busy (and she is very busy to be fair, and is under a lot of real life obligations). and she certainly helps me feel less lonely rather than more lonely most of the time. it's just that i do miss when i was able to talk with her every day -- she and i would talk over msn or google talk often for a while, and constantly write and reply with lj comments in each other's lj's, and email each other back and forth constantly (especially during the ron paul campaign), but now almost never do so, instead only sending a few emails back and forth a week, most of which i believe she doesn't read

(but don't get me wrong, i love her and am totally grateful for the attention she does give me, and would not want her to sacrifice real life for me, it's just that she used to fulfill the role of "online friend", and now does not)

so i guess the bottom line of what i'm saying is that i have no online friends anymore that i talk to every day, no more "online family", and i'm used to having a lot of such people (whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is up to the reader to decide, and obviously it's better to have real life friends than online ones, it's just that having neither is worse than only having online ones).

to a degree the tigsource crew has replaced the old group a little, but only a little. i don't interact with them over instant messenger, except for eva. they're more like professional associates than friends or family. i definitely would classify many of them as "friends" of sorts -- phubans, teegee, allen, dragonmaw, etc., but not the same type of friends as the ones above, not people i really understand or spend a lot of time talking with. eva in particular is almost like a "reverse friend" in that she's more annoying than someone i enjoy talking to; even though i like her she just has an annoying personality, like constantly messaging me 20 times in a row to see if i'm there even when i'm working on my game, and if i go offline to work on my game she'll message me on facebook or twitter demanding that i get back on the internet. it's also that she never talks about anything besides videogames, which i'm not always interested in talking about

another issue is that usually you expect online friends to be encouraging of one another and respectful towards one another to some degree, and she's the opposite of that: always saying that indie game developers are terrible, and that i'm wasting my time making terrible games, and that i'm mean, and so on. it's hard to be friends with someone who is totally against what you do, it'd be like an abortion doctor trying to be friends with a fundamentalist christian who feels that abortion should be banned, or a politician or policeman or lawyer trying to be friends with an anarchist who feels that government, the police, and laws should not exist. similarly eva believes that indie game developers should not exist (except as a hobby rather than a profession: not as people who try to make money making games as individuals or small teams without funding and then try to sell those games).

now you might understandably ask why i keep talking to such a person, and i'm not sure, i guess it's just habit and that i tend to like people who everyone else in a community hates (as with charbile and fyrewulff back in the ohrrpgce days; i was pretty much the only person in the community who liked them), and because she says interesting things occasionally, and knows more about modern videogames than i do (so i get lots of info about them from her). so she's definitely worth talking to, but she doesn't really fill the role of online friend that the above people i mentioned did, since she's discouraging rather than encouraging towards my projects, whereas the other people worked with me on projects etc.

so basically my options are

1) making new friends (either online or offline)
2) reconnecting with some of the old friends
3) learning to live with not having any friends

the first option i little time for. it takes a long time to get to know somebody, and i'm pretty busy trying to finish up SD. there's also the issue that most of the people i encounter online (mostly through tigsource) are usually much younger than me (i'm 32 and it feels like the average person on tigsource is between 15 and 25), and have little in common with me besides that we make games

the second option is possible, but unlikely, and i've attempted it a bit, but basically all of my previous online friends are either too busy with obligations to talk with me as often as they used to, don't like me much anymore, or both

the third option is probably what i'll have to do (at least for now) and is what i have been doing for the past two years or so. it's the 'all my friends are dead, and it's unlikely i'll get new ones any time soon' solution. it's not a very good solution but it's the only feasible one

i'll now return you to your regularly scheduled SD updates :)

(actually maybe i'll write a few more entries like this occasionally, it's interesting to return to this style once in a while. it's like revisiting a relic from the past. and i've other things to talk about besides this.)
rinku: (Default)

phubans watching my videos on a projector at the gdc or something

this reminds me that tale of tales did a similar thing in their 'independence' speech a few years ago (i was one of the photos in their slideshow)
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yet another game starring myself, courtesy of phubans...

phubans is so crazy

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i'm mentioned in an article there, if anyone wants to read
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just another conversation with eva that i found funny

(04:53:44) Paul: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sU02wF0DA2Y
(04:54:04) eva jolli: ya
(04:54:14) eva jolli: men becom mor girly :::::::
(04:54:25) eva jolli: but not
(04:54:27) eva jolli: feminism
(05:00:01) Paul: which u like better
(05:00:05) Paul: guys that are girly
(05:00:08) Paul: or guys that aren't
(05:00:25) eva jolli: like
(05:00:27) eva jolli: in between
(05:00:35) eva jolli: not creepy and not crazy ::::
(05:03:43) eva jolli: creepy metrosexual
(05:03:49) eva jolli: crazy overmasculine
(05:03:59) Paul: which am i
(05:04:03) eva jolli: wel i prefer the masculin mor
(05:04:05) eva jolli: idk ur like
(05:04:06) Paul: but that cuz
(05:04:41) eva jolli: metro |--------*----|-------------| masculine
(05:04:43) eva jolli: ur like ther
(05:04:44) eva jolli: *
(05:04:48) eva jolli: cos ur hippy
(05:05:14) eva jolli: i prefer like
(05:05:24) eva jolli: |------------|---*--------|
rinku: (Default)

test video -- both eva and newy want me to make more videos, but i have had lots of problems recording sound, but finally got it working slightly okay by using some syncing and audacity trickery, so here's a test video i created today

i plan to make video responses to all unanswered questions to my formspring, so if you want a video of me ask me something there: http://www.formspring.me/rinkuhero

(((also my webcam is ancient and bad, as you can see from the quality here, so if anyone wants to donate so i can get a better webcam, feel free)))
rinku: (Default)

this video is kind of funny -- a few people visit paterson from nyc and get scared :)

i'm familiar with many of the places shown in that vid; my siblings and i used to play under that statue at the end (which is particularly appropriate for this vid because hamilton founded the city)

and of course i've eaten at libby's and eaten texas-sized hotdogs in the past (though i no longer like hotdogs)
rinku: (Default)
(05:41:22) eva jolli: wat u do
(05:46:26) Paul: thinking of something
(05:46:36) eva jolli: o
(05:46:39) eva jolli: wat u think of
(05:47:58) Paul: it long to explain
(05:48:04) eva jolli: o
(05:48:06) eva jolli: ;
(05:48:17) eva jolli: dum
(05:48:26) Paul: not dum
(05:48:47) eva jolli: wat is it then
(05:48:48) eva jolli: :(
(05:49:48) Paul: i trying to understand what newy think of me but i think it impossible to know
(05:50:02) Paul: and i was thinking of how it always impossible to know what others think of you
(05:50:06) Paul: even if they tell you
(05:51:53) eva jolli: :( ya
(05:51:58) eva jolli: like u dont kno wat i think of u
(05:52:01) eva jolli: when i call u dum
(05:52:02) eva jolli: :(
(05:52:23) Paul: o
(05:52:31) Paul: that weird

as an aside, the best part about learning to talk like eva is that everyone i talk to like that (for instance, in irc) thinks i'm dumb and underestimates how much i actually know (that's also an attribute of not using capitalization) -- people really do judge things based on surface stuff too much, so it's fun to present an intentionally ordinary surface to see who can see beyond that
rinku: (Default)
i haven't posted an entry about this because i don't like 'complaint' entries but i may as well document my current ill-health

about 6 weeks ago, all of a sudden, i started having intense soft-tissue pain upon waking: simply standing on the floor would hurt my feet, or holding something would hurt my hand/arm; it felt as if my body were bruised all over. but after an hour or so of moving around, it'd go away almost completely. it kind of perplexed me (and still does), but i thought it was just possibly exercise pains (since i had exercised the day before, although not that intensely).

but it continued on for weeks, each morning the same intense pain, each time going away eventually. so i then suspected it was rheumatism or fibromyalgia or something, or related to arthritis (which i also have and which causes joint pain in the mornings sometimes for me).

a few weeks in, i noticed it started happening even if i would stay in place for a few hours, rather than only upon waking in the morning: not moving my legs for about an hour would cause them to hurt when i moved them, but if i kept them in motion by getting up and walking around every 15 minutes or something they'd be fine. this is pretty strange behavior and i've never heard of a disease like this.

over time it seems to have changed slightly: it's no longer as intensely painful in the morning, but instead it's more generally painful all throughout the day (lower extremes, but longer duration). i actually prefer the old way, it's more comfortable to be fine most of the day and in great pain in the morning than to average it out across the whole day.

my sister also reports something similar (although i don't know how similar) and since i live with her we suspect it could be some type of infection. but she doesn't seem to be as affected by it as i am -- she doesn't have any problems walking due to it for instance, whereas i do. EDIT: see the first comment below for her response

so i thought i'd post it in the off chance that anyone here has an idea what it is.
rinku: (Default)
supershigi asked me what my name meant in a youtube comment, so i replied to her with the following; i thought it might be interesting to re-post my answer to her here as well:

long story, two parts:

1) my friend komera (who is the creature designer / creature sprite´╗┐ artist for SD and who i've been online friends with since 1998) once had some drama in the ohrrpgce community that caused everyone to make fun of her, and in frustration she said she was leaving it; feeling upset to see her go i said i'd leave too if she did. later she changed her mind and we decided to re-join, but under different names, so that we'd seem like different people. she was zerudahime and i was rinku (japanese names of link and zelda). she chose the names because she was a fan of the zelda games. i've kept it since then, even though she went back to her original name (komera).

2) in april 2001 my friend harlock (who was the portrait artist and enemy sprite artist in immortal defense, and designed the title screen watercolor hippy-album cover image in saturated dreamers) and i started 'the heroists' which was going to be a group of artists in all mediums (games, movies, books, music, and so on) devoted to saving the world through art by showing the world how great life is, causing them to be excited and enthusiastic about life to a greater degree, much like certain artworks have had that effect on us. at our peak we had about 9 members. each member post-pended '-hero' to their name. so there was rinkuhero, harlockhero, nanamihero (my sister), novahero, and others. although over time the movement eventually ran out of steam as people left to do different things, i still use -hero with my name as a reminder that that is the goal of the games i create, to sort of make people feel good and charge them up for doing great things on their own.
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i've been playing the sc2 beta. if anyone has it, my username there is:

rinkuhero@gmail.com (by email)
rinkuhero.rinkuhero (by username)

i'm on the US server, if you are too add me and we can play

so far it's pretty easy, i've beaten everyone i've faced in the 'novice' and 'placement' brackets, except one that i lost intentionally, and got placed into gold. i lost one intentionally because i didn't want to get placed into platinum, because i'm not a platinum player.
rinku: (Default)
icon changed again since lurk's picture of venus is so g8 and last one was dum


rinku: (Default)
Paul Eres

March 2015

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